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Top Technology News -- ScienceDailyWed, 28 Jun 2017 00:44:01 EDT

Chemists turn metal catalysis on its head for a sustainable future Tue, 27 Jun 2017 13:43:40 EDT
A research team used high-valent transition metal catalysts for an unconventional hydrogenation of carboxylic acid groups, common to biomass feedstocks. The high-valent catalysts showed good selectivity under mild conditions.
Slow motion makes soccer referees more likely to give a red card Tue, 27 Jun 2017 11:48:29 EDT
Video assistant refereeing in soccer has to be used with caution. Researchers have shown that refs are more likely to give red when they see a foul committed in slow motion, even when a yellow card is more justifiable. This is because fouls viewed in slow motion appear to be more serious.
Astronomers detect orbital motion in pair of supermassive black holes Tue, 27 Jun 2017 11:48:15 EDT
Images made with the continent-wide Very Long Baseline Array detect the orbital motion of two supermassive black holes as they circle each other at the center of a distant galaxy. The two black holes themselves may eventually merge in an event that would produce gravitational waves that ripple across the universe.
X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions Tue, 27 Jun 2017 10:54:25 EDT
Researchers have improved an ambient-pressure photoelectron spectroscopy instrument using hard X-rays and succeeded in photoelectron spectrometry under real atmospheric pressure for the first time in the world. The novel apparatus can be applied for observing various reactions between solid and gas under atmospheric pressure, and biological samples fragile under high vacuum.
New photoacoustic technique detects gases at parts-per-quadrillion level Tue, 27 Jun 2017 10:53:52 EDT
A new technique enables the detection of gases, such as atmospheric pollutants, present in extremely small quantities that are otherwise difficult or impossible to detect.
Digital dating abuse especially bad for girls Tue, 27 Jun 2017 10:53:43 EDT
Teens expect to experience some digital forms of abuse in dating, but girls may be suffering more severe emotional consequences than boys, according to a new study.
Odd properties of water and ice explained: Water exists as two different liquids Mon, 26 Jun 2017 19:06:10 EDT
Scientists have discovered two phases of liquid water with large differences in structure and density. The results are based on experimental studies using X-rays.
Could this strategy bring high-speed communications to the deep sea? Mon, 26 Jun 2017 18:10:47 EDT
A new strategy for sending acoustic waves through water could potentially open up the world of high-speed communications to divers, marine research vessels, remote ocean monitors, deep sea robots, and submarines. By taking advantage of the dynamic rotation generated as the acoustic wave travels, also known as its orbital angular momentum, researchers were able to pack more channels onto a single frequency, effectively increasing the amount of information capable of being transmitted.
Thwarting metastasis by breaking cancer's legs with gold rods Mon, 26 Jun 2017 18:10:45 EDT
Your cancer has metastasized. No one wants to ever hear that. Now researchers have found a way to virtually halt cell migration, a key component in metastasis, in vitro, in human cells. In past in vivo studies in mice, treated cancer did not appear to recur. No significant side effects were observed.
New class of 'soft' semiconductors could transform HD displays Mon, 26 Jun 2017 18:10:43 EDT
New research could help usher in a new generation of high-definition displays, optoelectronic devices, photodetectors, and more. They have shown that a class of “soft” semiconductors can be used to emit multiple, bright colors from a single nanowire at resolutions as small as 500 nanometers. The work could challenge quantum dot displays that rely upon traditional semiconductor nanocrystals to emit light.
New tool offers snapshots of neuron activity Mon, 26 Jun 2017 18:06:00 EDT
A new way to label neurons when they become active has now been developed, essentially providing a snapshot of their activity at a moment in time.
Microbe mystery solved: What happened to the Deepwater Horizon oil plume? Mon, 26 Jun 2017 15:57:40 EDT
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 is one of the most studied spills in history, yet scientists haven't agreed on the role of microbes in eating up the oil. Now a research team has identified all of the principal oil-degrading bacteria as well as their mechanisms for chewing up the many different components that make up the released crude oil.
Computer model simulates sense of touch from the entire hand Mon, 26 Jun 2017 15:57:37 EDT
Neuroscientists have developed a computer model that can simulate the response of nerves in the hand to any pattern of touch stimulation on the skin. The tool reconstructs the response of more than 12,500 nerve fibers with millisecond precision, taking into account the mechanics of the skin as it presses up against and moves across objects.
Air pollution casts shadow over solar energy production Mon, 26 Jun 2017 13:57:24 EDT
Global solar energy production is taking a major hit due to air pollution and dust. The first study of its kind shows airborne particles and their accumulation on solar cells is cutting energy output by more than 25 percent in certain parts of the world. The regions hardest hit are also those investing the most in solar energy installations -- China, India and the Arabian Peninsula.
2-D material's traits could send electronics R&D spinning in new directions Mon, 26 Jun 2017 13:18:01 EDT
Researchers created an atomically thin material and used X-rays to measure its exotic and durable properties that make it a promising candidate for a budding branch of electronics known as 'spintronics.'
Microscope can scan tumors during surgery and examine cancer biopsies in 3-D Mon, 26 Jun 2017 12:46:05 EDT
A new microscope could provide accurate real-time results during cancer-removal surgeries, potentially eliminating the 20 to 40 percent of women who have to undergo multiple lumpectomy surgeries because cancerous breast tissue is missed the first time around.
Cloning thousands of genes for massive protein libraries Mon, 26 Jun 2017 12:46:03 EDT
Discovering the function of a gene requires cloning a DNA sequence and expressing it. Until now, this was performed on a one-gene-at-a-time basis, causing a bottleneck. Scientists have invented a technology to clone thousands of genes simultaneously and create massive libraries of proteins from DNA samples, potentially ushering in a new era of functional genomics.
Using 'sticky' nanoparticles, researchers develop strategy to boost body's cancer defenses Mon, 26 Jun 2017 12:46:00 EDT
Strides have been made in the development of a strategy to improve the immune system's detection of cancer proteins by using 'sticky' nanoparticles.
New tool to identify and control neurons Mon, 26 Jun 2017 12:45:47 EDT
One of the big challenges in the neuroscience field is to understand how connections and communications trigger our behavior. Researchers have now developed a tool to identify and control neurons. The new technique, called Calcium and Light-Induced Gene Handling Toolkit or 'Cal-Light,' allows researchers to observe and manipulate the neural activities underlying behavior with never-before-seen specificity, hopefully allowing researchers to identify causality between neuronal activity and behavior.
One billion suns: World's brightest laser sparks new behavior in light Mon, 26 Jun 2017 12:44:28 EDT
Using the brightest light ever produced on Earth, physicists have changed the way light behaves.
Peering through opaque brains with new algorithm Mon, 26 Jun 2017 12:44:03 EDT
A new algorithm helps scientists record the activity of individual neurons within a volume of brain tissue.
Microplastics sloughed from synthetic fabrics in the washing machine Mon, 26 Jun 2017 12:43:55 EDT
Billions of pieces of plastic are floating in the oceans. Their effects are also sufficiently well-known: marine animals swallow them or get tangled up in them, which can cause them to die in agony. On the other hand, we know less about the consequences of the smallest pieces of plastic, known as microplastics. Researchers have now started to investigate how microplastics are generated and where they actually come from.
System of quadcopters that fly and drive suggest another approach to developing flying cars Mon, 26 Jun 2017 12:43:44 EDT
Being able to both walk and take flight is typical in nature many birds, insects, and other animals can do both. If we could program robots with similar versatility, it would open up many possibilities: Imagine machines that could fly into construction areas or disaster zones that aren't near roads and then squeeze through tight spaces on the ground to transport objects or rescue people.
Beyond bananas: 'Mind reading' technology decodes complex thoughts Mon, 26 Jun 2017 10:57:58 EDT
New research builds on the pioneering use of machine learning algorithms with brain imaging technology to "mind read."
Moisture-responsive 'robots' crawl with no external power source Mon, 26 Jun 2017 10:57:54 EDT
Using an off-the-shelf camera flash, researchers turned an ordinary sheet of graphene oxide into a material that bends when exposed to moisture. They then used this material to make a spider-like crawler and claw robot that move in response to changing humidity without the need for any external power.
'Solarsack' cleans water with heat from sunlight, cheaply and effectively Mon, 26 Jun 2017 10:50:13 EDT
Students have developed “SolarSack” for inexpensive and environmentally friendly water purification. The concept was tested in villages, refugee camps and slums in East Africa where it will be marketed.
Colon cancer: Greater surgical precision using robotic surgery Mon, 26 Jun 2017 09:43:36 EDT
Up until now, the removal of bowel tumors in the lesser pelvis (rectal cancers) involved a major, generally invasive operation. This operation can now be done in a much gentler way using an innovative procedure, robotic surgery. Thanks to a better three-dimensional view of the operating area and robotic instruments that allow highly accurate surgery to be performed in the anatomically constricted space of the lesser pelvis, surgical trauma and incisions for the operation can be kept to a minimum, while, at the same time, achieving excellent surgical results.
Acoustical remake of car horns alerts without jarring Mon, 26 Jun 2017 09:36:18 EDT
Sound permeates the human experience and gets our attention, sometimes traumatically so. Consider the car horn. It is a widespread practical application of this noise-trauma-alert principle -- and an increasing source of noise pollution worldwide as the global traffic population grows. It also is the subject of new noise pollution research. The study introduces a new pedestrian-friendly car-horn sound identified through the Mean Option Score.
Twitter-monitoring system detects riots far quicker than police reports Mon, 26 Jun 2017 09:35:22 EDT
Social media can be an invaluable source of information for police when managing major disruptive events, new research has shown.
Neuron-integrated nanotubes to repair nerve fibers Mon, 26 Jun 2017 09:35:04 EDT
A new study sheds light on the properties of nanostructures capable of ensuring an effective integration with nerve cells, an essential quality for developing innovative systems targeting the repair of neuronal damages, report scientists.
Topsy-turvy motion creates light switch effect at Uranus Mon, 26 Jun 2017 09:34:53 EDT
Uranus' magnetosphere, the region defined by the planet's magnetic field and the material trapped inside it, gets flipped on and off like a light switch every day as it rotates along with the planet, scientists have discovered. It's 'open' in one orientation, allowing solar wind to flow into the magnetosphere; it later closes, forming a shield against the solar wind and deflecting it away from the planet.
Making ferromagnets stronger by adding non-magnetic elements Fri, 23 Jun 2017 15:55:14 EDT
Magnetic materials can be functionalized through a thoroughly unlikely method, report researchers: by adding amounts of the virtually non-magnetic element scandium to a gadolinium-germanium alloy.
Accelerating the quest for quicker, longer-lasting electronics Fri, 23 Jun 2017 15:55:08 EDT
In the world of electronics, where the quest is always for smaller and faster units with infinite battery life, topological insulators (TI) have tantalizing potential. Scientists report they have created a TI film just 25 atoms thick that adheres to an insulating magnetic film, creating a 'heterostructure.'
Atomic imperfections move quantum communication network closer to reality Fri, 23 Jun 2017 15:55:06 EDT
An international team of scientists has discovered how to manipulate a weird quantum interface between light and matter in silicon carbide along wavelengths used in telecommunications.
Cool power: Breakthroughs in solar panel cooling technology Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:29:54 EDT
Breakthroughs in solar panel cooling tech will help keep NASA’s Parker Solar Probe operating at peak performance — even while flying through the sun’s corona
Algorithm generates optimal origami folding patterns for any shape Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:15:17 EDT
A new algorithm generates practical paper-folding patterns to produce any 3-D structure.
Bioengineers create more durable, versatile wearable for diabetes monitoring Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:15:15 EDT
Researchers are getting more out of the sweat they've put into their work on a wearable diagnostic tool that measures three diabetes-related compounds in microscopic amounts of perspiration. In a study, the team describes their wearable diagnostic biosensor that can detect three interconnected compounds - cortisol, glucose and interleukin-6 - in perspired sweat for up to a week without loss of signal integrity.
MRI without contrast agents? Yes, with sugar Fri, 23 Jun 2017 11:05:48 EDT
Scientists have been able to visualize brain cancer using a novel MRI method. They use a simple sugar solution instead of conventional contrast agents, which can have side effects in the body.
Mathematical method for fair definition of electoral districts Fri, 23 Jun 2017 11:05:40 EDT
For democratic elections to be fair, voting districts must have similar sizes. When populations shift, districts need to be redistributed -- a complex and, in many countries, controversial task when political parties attempt to influence redistricting. Mathematicians have now developed a method that allows the efficient calculation of optimally sized voting districts.
Self-folding origami: Chemical programming allows Nafion sheets to fold and refold Fri, 23 Jun 2017 11:05:32 EDT
Plastic with a thousand faces: A single piece of Nafion foil makes it possible to produce a broad palette of complex 3-D structures. Researchers now describe how they use simple chemical 'programming' to induce the foil to fold itself using origami and kirigami principles. These folds can be repeatedly 'erased' and the foil can be 'reprogrammed'.
Meteorite mystery solved with research on high pressure Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:06:19 EDT
A research group has found a long-sought explanation for the apparent contradictions implicit in the composition of lunar and Martian meteorites. They were able to demonstrate how meteorites could contain within narrow spaces minerals whose formation conditions are quite different. These findings provide new impetus for meteorite research.
Equipping form with function Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:04:50 EDT
Mechanical structures in steerable cars are optimized to fit exactly one particular shape of the toy. If designers want to reuse such a mechanism with different shapes, the necessary adjustments to the components were often unmanageable for non-experts. Scientists have developed an interactive design tool that allows users to easily adjust a mechanical template to the shape of their choice.
Correct connections are crucial Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:04:46 EDT
Investigators have been examining the use of deep brain stimulation in the treatment of Parkinson's disease in an attempt to optimize treatment effectiveness.
Researchers design sounds that can be recorded by microphones but inaudible to humans Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:04:33 EDT
Researchers have designed a sound that is completely inaudible to humans (40 kHz or above) yet is audible to any microphone. The sound combines multiple tones that, when interacting with the microphone's mechanics, create what researchers call a 'shadow,' which is a sound that the microphones can detect.
Neutron-rich nucleus shapeshifts between a rugby ball and a discus Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:04:19 EDT
There are two coexisting, competing quantum shapes at low energy in 98Kr, never before seen for neutron-rich Kr isotopes, report scientists. The team also showed that these isotopes experience a gentle onset of deformation with added neutrons, in sharp contrast with neighboring isotopes of rubidium, strontium, and zirconium, which change shapes suddenly at neutron number 60. This study marks a decisive step towards an understanding of the limits of this quantum phase transition region.
Following a friend leads to unsafe driving behavior Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:04:11 EDT
A new study inspired by a court case involving a driver seriously hurt in an accident when following another car to a destination, provides evidence to show that the car behind makes risky driving maneuvers. Driving faster, more erratically, closer to the car in front and jumping traffic lights are all blamed on a fear of getting lost. Drivers are advised to provide the follower with a map or navigational guide before setting off.
Does dark matter annihilate quicker in the Milky Way? Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:04:05 EDT
A new theory predicts how dark matter may be annihilating much more rapidly in the Milky Way, than in smaller or larger galaxies and the early Universe.
Don't leave baby boomers behind when designing wearable technology Fri, 23 Jun 2017 08:52:33 EDT
Accounting for age-related cognitive and physical challenges can increase adoption rates for older users who need help managing their health.
A unique amino acid for brain cancer therapy Fri, 23 Jun 2017 08:50:53 EDT
Photodynamic therapy is often used to treat brain tumors because of its specificity — it can target very small regions containing cancerous cells while sparing the normal cells around it from damage. It works by injecting a drug called a photosensitizer into the bloodstream, where it gathers in cells, and then exposing the drug-filled cells to light. When the photosensitizer is exposed to this light, it emits what is known as a reactive oxygen species (ROS) that causes the cells to die.
Protein mingling under blue light Fri, 23 Jun 2017 08:50:06 EDT
One of the current challenges in biology is to understand rapidly-changing phenomena. Interestingly, only a small fraction of them is due to proteins acting in isolation, the majority of biological events are regulated by proteins acting together in clusters. Researchers have developed a new tool, called "CRY2clust", to trigger protein cluster formation in response to blue light. This new technique has a much faster response rate and higher sensitivity to light than existent methods.
How a single chemical bond balances cells between life and death Thu, 22 Jun 2017 18:28:32 EDT
With SLAC's X-ray laser and synchrotron, scientists measured exactly how much energy goes into keeping a crucial chemical bond from triggering a cell's death spiral.
Origins of Sun's swirling spicules discovered Thu, 22 Jun 2017 17:14:16 EDT
For the first time, a computer simulation -- so detailed it took a full year to run -- shows how spicules form, helping scientists understand how spicules can break free of the sun's surface and surge upward so quickly.
Single electron's tiny leap sets off 'molecular sunscreen' response Thu, 22 Jun 2017 15:54:37 EDT
Scientists have seen the first step of a process that protects a DNA building block called thymine from sun damage: When it's hit with ultraviolet light, a single electron jumps into a slightly higher orbit around the nucleus of a single oxygen atom.
Record UK rainfall in winter 2013-14 caused by tropics, stratosphere and climate warming Thu, 22 Jun 2017 15:32:40 EDT
New research has revealed the causes of the UK's record rainfall and subsequent flooding during the 2013-14 winter. Using carefully tailored atmosphere/ocean model experiments, the research team found that a combination of unusual tropical conditions, the stratospheric polar vortex, and climate warming were behind the extreme rainfall, which led to severe flooding across many parts of the UK.
Flexible wearable electronics use body heat for energy Thu, 22 Jun 2017 14:31:23 EDT
In a proof-of-concept study, engineers have designed a flexible thermoelectric energy harvester that has the potential to rival the effectiveness of existing power wearable electronic devices using body heat as the only source of energy.
Piling on pressure solves enduring mystery about metal's makeup Thu, 22 Jun 2017 14:31:11 EDT
Extreme pressure experiments and powerful supercomputing have enabled scientists to solve a decades-old puzzle about the fundamental properties of the widely used metal lithium.
A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved Thu, 22 Jun 2017 14:30:58 EDT
Researchers have found a way around what was considered a fundamental limitation of physics for over 100 years. They were able to conceive resonant systems that can store electromagnetic waves over a long period of time while maintaining a broad bandwidth. Their study opens up a number of doors, particularly in telecommunications.
Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator? Thu, 22 Jun 2017 14:30:55 EDT
In an arranged marriage of optics and mechanics, physicists have created microscopic structural beams that have a variety of powerful uses when light strikes them.
Catalyst mimics the z-scheme of photosynthesis Thu, 22 Jun 2017 14:30:47 EDT
A new study demonstrates a process with great potential for developing technologies for reducing CO2 levels.
New efficient, low-temperature catalyst for hydrogen production Thu, 22 Jun 2017 14:29:56 EDT
Scientists have developed a new low-temperature catalyst for producing high-purity hydrogen gas while simultaneously using up carbon monoxide (CO). The discovery could improve the performance of fuel cells that run on hydrogen fuel but can be poisoned by CO.
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